Meaning of PRINCIPAL in English

I. prin ‧ ci ‧ pal 1 W2 AC /ˈprɪnsəp ə l, ˈprɪnsɪp ə l/ BrE AmE adjective [only before noun]

[ Date: 1200-1300 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: Latin principalis , from princeps ; ⇨ ↑ prince ]

most important SYN main :

His principal reason for making the journey was to visit his family.

Teaching is her principal source of income.

the principal character in the book

⇨ ↑ principally

II. principal 2 BrE AmE noun

1 . SCHOOL [countable] American English someone who is in charge of a school SYN headteacher British English :

a small school with just three teachers and the principal

2 . UNIVERSITY/COLLEGE [countable] British English someone who is in charge of a university or college

3 . BUSINESS [countable] American English the main person in a business or organization, who can make important business decisions and is legally responsible for them:

The principal of the business has an office in New York.

4 . PERFORMER [countable] the main performer in a play or in a group of musicians, dancers etc:

She later became a principal with the Royal Ballet.

5 . MONEY [singular] technical the original amount of money that is lent to someone, not including any of the ↑ interest

• • •


▪ teacher someone who teaches as their job, especially in a school:

a high school teacher

▪ principal ( also headteacher British English ) the teacher who is in charge of a school or college:

The teacher sent him to the principal’s office.

▪ tutor someone who gives private lessons to one student or a small group of students. In Britain, a tutor is also a teacher in a university:

They hired a tutor to help him with his English.


Your tutor will help you find a subject for your essay.

▪ lecturer someone who teaches in a university or college:

University lecturers aren’t very well paid.

▪ professor a teacher in a college or university. In Britain, a professor is a high-ranking university teacher, especially one who is head of a department:

She was professor of linguistics at Cambridge University.

▪ instructor someone who teaches a sport or a practical skill such as swimming or driving:

He works as a ski instructor in the winter.


a driving instructor

▪ coach someone who helps a person or team improve in a sport:

a professional tennis coach

▪ educator especially American English formal someone whose job involves teaching people, or someone who is an expert on education:

Most educators agree that class sizes are still too big.

▪ trainer someone who teaches people particular skills, especially the skills they need to do a job:

a teacher trainer


Many companies pay outside trainers to teach management skills to their staff.

▪ governess a woman who lived with a family and taught their children in past times:

As a governess, Charlotte Brontë received twenty pounds a year.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.